Eco- Friendly Gift Ideas (Gift Guide With Giveaway)

Do you want to find a gift with a difference? Then why not choose something that helps our planet! Here is a list of eco-friendly items to fill your (bamboo) stockings with…

Collage of all items featured in gift guide. Title written in centre.

Bamboo Coffee Cup Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) £12 each

This awesome 400 ml reusable bamboo coffee cup is dishwasher-safe, easy to carry around and lasts for years. It can be disposed of by crushing, soaking in hot water and burying with organic compost. The silicone lid and sleeve can be recycled.

A picture of SAS bamboo reusable coffee cups (boxed and stacked 3 x 2) in 6 different colours.

Annual Memberships

The Wildlife Trusts
The Wildlife Trusts do fantastic work, and annual membership is a lovely gift for eco-friendly nature lovers.

Wildlife Matters magazine and Go Wild leaflet by The Wildlife Trusts

Surfers Against Sewage
SAS works tirelessly to campaign for cleaner environments and supports the development of sustainable communities. Membership to this charity makes a great gift!

Image of SAS Pipeline journal

Homemade Soap Gift Set Living Naturally Cost: £26

This beautiful Soapnut Soap Selection Set is handmade in the UK from 100% natural, organic, vegan, sustainable, ethically-sourced & cruelty-free ingredients! They only use recycled/recyclable paper packaging, so you will not be contributing to landfill either.

A set of 7 beautiful vegan, eco, ethical, natural handmade soaps.

Salad Kit The Crop Club £30

These ‘grow your own’ kits are perfect for even small spaces and do their bit for the environment and sustainability. They include; 6 varieties of seeds, compostable cardboard and PLA pots, peat free compost discs, palm leaf trays for your pots, wooden spoon plant markers, bottletop waterer (80% recycled plastic, made in the UK) and coffee sack planter bags.

A picture of the contents of the crop club salad kit.

Every coffee sack is unique and different. They have already been used to transport coffee and are then upcycled. Due to this they can be a little dirty and messy but perfect for growing!

Mens Yoga Clothes OHMME 2- Dogs Yoga Shorts £45

OHMME is an eco- friendly athleisure slow fashion brand created as ethically as possible, who also donate to CALM Charity. They use GreenDefence, which incorporates a built-in antibacterial function to the garments that stops bacterial growth and reduces odors without using harmful chemicals. They also use bluesign® to minimise environmental impact and to help evolve towards a sustainable textile industry. It eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for a safe production.

Image of a pair of blue Ohmme 2-dogs yoga shorts for men.

These 2-Dogs Yoga Shorts for men are stretchy and silky, lined with a soft compression layer for total freedom of motion. The material is stretchy; this tight but stretchy fit allows for excellent blood flow. The cut is fitted with an extra panel from the crotch all the way down the inside of the leg, removing the strain from the seams and keeping your shorts in place for maximum body mobility. They are made for all body shapes and types of workout allowing you to focus on your practice and forget about what you are wearing.

One lucky reader can win a pair of these brilliant blue 2-dogs mens yoga shorts! Enter via rafflecopter below. UK only. Ends 4th December 2017. Other T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stocking Fillers

Do you have sustainable gift ideas? Please share them with me! I’d love to hear them.

This post contains affiliate links and is a collaborative post.

Halfords Big Black Friday Competition 

No doubt most of you already know that Black Friday is now just one week away – 24th November 2017 . It’s a great excuse to grab yourself some bargains! Whilst I firmly believe that something is only a good deal if you actually need it, I do also think that Black Friday sales provide the perfect opportunity to invest in things that can enhance your lifestyle, or to save money on gifts that you intend to buy anyway. It’s also the ideal chance to get your Christmas shopping done, then sit back and relax for the rest of the festive season!

For example, Halfords Black Friday has some bargains on both adult and child bikes, which of course is a fab way to get outdoors and stay healthy. Also, a popular present! Plus, for those who love to travel, there are some handy items such as a roof box and kids trunkies in the sale too. We have had the ladybird trunki for years – it is so useful!

Black and white image saying Black Friday Competition

Black Friday Competition

Halfords also have an amazing Black Friday Competition on at the moment. The closing date is this Wednesday (22nd November) so make sure you head on over before then to enter! All you need to do is complete the short form and answer a very simple question. The top prize is worth a whopping £2,000, plus awesome runners up prizes too, so this is one not to be missed!

Prizes

Top Prize:

  • £2,000 worth of goodies, including a seven night holiday with Eurocamp (worth £1,000) and £1,000 worth of Black Friday deals.

Runners Up Prizes:

  • £800 worth of Black Friday goodies.
  • £300 worth of Black Friday goodies.

Enter here: Halfords Black Friday Competition

Good luck! And happy shopping!!! What’s on your Christmas wish list?

*This is a collaborative post.

Make Your Christmas More Creative

It’s easy to let Christmas take over your house, mind and wallet. Maybe it even instills a feeling of dread and an expectation that you’ll start the new year on the back foot in a bank overdraft. But there are many ways to upgrade your Christmas that don’t revolve around presents and decorations. Fun, personal and thoughtful touches will win every time! Here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing, so that you can make some changes this year that’ll be more creative, fun, and also save you money – without compromising on time with loved ones.

A picture of Christmas accessories on a blue background with the title written in white.

Get crafty

If you’ve got a skill or talent that could be used to make a gift instead of buying one, this would add a personal touch and could save money (depending on the skill). If you’re a keen cook, why not offer to make a dish for Christmas dinner rather than buying everyone a gift? Perhaps you’d rather make a delicious dessert for everyone to share – it’ll be really appreciated, will help out the host and is something you can all share. If you’re more into sewing or painting, you may prefer to make small handmade gifts instead – just remember to give yourself enough time to complete them in the busy time leading up to Christmas.

Save money

Take advantage of cheaper options and make sure you shop around. If you have a particular gift in mind, see if you can get hold of it second hand – sites like eBay may have the same item either brand new or used – in many cases you might find one that’s been opened but never used, or still comes in the original box. Why spend more for no reason? Shopping around more could save you a lot of money! Just don’t forget that you may need to arrange your own courier which you’ll need to factor into your budget.

Take charge of Christmas games

Games are a big part of Christmas for many and a great way to bond with family. If games aren’t part of your Christmas day usually, why not give yourself the title of Games Coordinator, do some research and find a few easy games that’ll get you all working together and passing the time so you’ve got something to keep your mind busy when waiting for your food! 

If you’re already a lover of games, why not find a few new ones to try – perhaps you’ve got that one person that never wants to play and they need something else to get them motivated. If there’s a certain game that divides family members, try to find one that includes everyone and that appeals to their interests. Ask friends which games they play at Christmas time and steal any good recommendations!

New board games can be expensive so it’ll pay to shop around – a good tip is to look in charity shops or borrow from others. There are also so many games that only need a pen and paper or a pack of cards so you don’t need to spend a fortune!

Hopefully these tips give you some inspiration for cutting the cost of your Christmas this year and add a little sprinkle of creativity whilst saving you money!

*This is a collaborative post.

Cool Gifts For Men Under £20 (Gift Guide) 

Are you looking for a gift idea for the man in your life that won’t blow your budget? This cool gift guide for men is full of brilliant presents under £20. It will be sure to inspire you!

Christmas present shopping soon adds up. We have all been there; getting carried away, busily buying gifts for those you love, but before you know it you have blown through your entire budget and there is little left in the bank for the rest of the month! However, with this awesome gift guide you won’t need to worry because everything I have included is £20 or under. Full of cool gift ideas that will help to keep you in budget, this selection will be sure to inspire you no matter what type of present you are looking for…

Collage of images of items on the gift guide with caption Jacamo gifts for men under £20

Sockology Oddsocks Price: £16.00

I love these because they are fun and colourful, plus they offer abit of a funky twist on the classic idea of buying socks. They save bothering to pair up socks too! They also come in a gift box so it is more like a present. For more traditional socks and pants click here.

Liquorice Hamper Price: £20.00

As quoted from Jacamo: “This delightful hamper is perfect for any liquorice lover! Contents may vary but will include a variety of the following liquorice treats: TORPEDOS – Liquorice flavoured torpedo shaped sweets covered in a colourful crispy shell. ALL SORTS – Assorted shapes and colours liquorice flavour sweets. BLACK & WHITE MINTS – Square shaped pieces of mint flavour cream-paste and liquorice. PONTEFRACT CAKES – Aniseed and liquorice flavoured round shaped gummy sweets. LIQUORICE CREAM ROCK – Liquorice flavoured hard candy with fruit flavour fondant centre. JELLY BUTTONS – Aniseed flavoured jellies with sugar coating. COCONUT ROLLS – Liquorice flavoured sweets in coconut flavour sugar paste. LIQUORICE WHEELS – Liquorice and aniseed flavour rolled sweets.”

Who Am I Face Mats Game Price: £6.00

This is a variation on the game where you stick a post-it note on your forehead then guess who you are by asking questions. This would make a fun present for someone who enjoys having a giggle!

Projectogram Price: £7.00

Jacamo says: “A stunningly futuristic gift that enables you to project a holographic illusion from your smartphone! A brilliant gadget for your mobile devices, the Projectogram contains all the component parts required to create a brilliantly impressive holographic image, and the unique universal design means it comes compatible with all smartphones and tablets. The Projectogram can be used by downloading content online and following the included instructions. A great gift for tech-savvy kids and adults alike, the Projectogram is a smartphone accessory that can be used right away with a multitude of compatible content already available online. When used with a smartphone or tablet, the Projectogram will project the image from your device making it appear as a 3D hologram to make a cool and impressive visual illusion.”

Personalised Football Keyring Price: £10.00

Choose from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City or Tottenham. This footy keyring can be personalised with a message up to 60 characters. It also comes in a gift pouch. A thoughtful stocking filler for any football fan!

Comedy Night For Two Price: £15.00

Quoted from website: “Comedy Night for Two. Treat yourself and a friend to a hilarious evening of top class entertainment with this Comedy Night Ticket for Two. You’ll pick from a range of comedy nights across the UK for this fun outing, including locations in London, Birmingham, Cardiff and more. Laugh the night away as you enjoy comedy from some of the UKs finest stand-up acts. With so many venues on offer, you’re sure to find a comedy night within reach in this entertaining experience you’ll never forget. After issue of the voucher, the participant will usually have 9 months to book and redeem their voucher directly with the experience supplier. (Restrictions may apply to certain products).”

Shaver, Clipper And Trimmer Set Price: £20.00

This is a great present for those who prefer more practical gifts. It is a rechargeable three-head shaver with stainless steel blade cutter that has a multitiude of uses. It can also be used as an electric hair clipper with adjustable blade and four comb attachments. Lastly, it functions as a nose hair and sideburn trimmer with interchangeable trimmer head.

Do you have a gift recommendation for men under £20? I would love to hear your ideas!

*This is a collaborative post.

​Win Activ8rlives Sleek Bluetooth Smart Scales for Christmas

I have some news and a giveaway to share with you! Activ8rlives got in touch to let me know about their fantastic 3 for 2 Christmas offer; you can buy a combination of Smart Scales, BuddyBand2, Blood Pressure monitor, Pulse Oximeter and Peak Flow meter, in any combination of 3 for the price of 2. Awesome deal! I don’t have any of these myself (yet! I will be reviewing the Blood Pressure Monitor soon, so look out for that!) but I have heard great things about the Smart Scales! A fellow blogger, Just Average Jen, reviewed them and she wrote that they were stylish, easy to set up and use, and accurate – sounds good to me! You can read her review here: Just Average Jen – Body Analyser Review.

Body Analyser Smart Scales image with info about activ8rlives 3 for 2 offer

Here is your chance to win the sleek Activ8rlives Body Analyser Smart Scales, measuring weight, body and visceral fat, muscle mass, hydration and BMI. Activ8rlives’ health+wellness monitors are easy to operate and are supplied with printed colour manuals and free Activ8rlives4 Health+Wellness App (iOS and Android), which guides you through the process of connecting. Data is then automatically uploaded via Bluetooth, stored securely in the UK, and allows weight, diet and wellness tracking over time. The perfect device to help you monitor and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle, for you and your family.

Free Customer Support 7-Days-a-week 01480 352821.

www.activ8rlives.com

Entry to the giveaway is via rafflecopter below. One lucky reader will receive a set of Body Analyser Smart Scales.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UK residents only. Competition ends 7th December 2017. Other T&Cs apply. Good luck! 

Personalised Gift Ideas – A Creative Gift Guide for Adults and Children

Are you looking for a personalised gift that really shows you care? Check out this gift guide for unique creative gift ideas that offer a truly personal touch. Personalised, thoughtful gift ideas for both children and adults.

Sometimes buying someone a present is a tough job. Perhaps it is that person who already seems to have everything, or maybe you are simply looking for something unique that really shows you care. If you want to find a thoughtful gift that offers something a little different, then check out these creative gift ideas… 

Collage of 4 pictures with caption Personalised Custom Gifts for Children and Adults. Gift guide images.

The Book of Everyone/ Wise(ish) Words For Kids

The Book of Everyone makes a great gift for anyone. Each unique book is tailored to the special person you are creating it for. And for your favourite small person, there’s the Wise(ish) Words For Kids edition. You can edit at every stage to personalise the book’s life advice even further. These beautiful books make a very thoughtful present.

Image of cover and page within book.

Prices start from £7.95

Website: thebookofeveryone.com

Facebook: Book of Everyone

Twitter: @BookOfEveryone

Instagram: bookofeveryone

Pinterest: bookofeveryone

Living Life Our Way Custom Clothing

Whether it is a slogan adult hoodie or a kids tee with their own drawing on, custom clothing makes a fab personal gift. Choose from bags, sweatshirts, hoodies, tees and vests. Simply select ‘Custom Clothing’ under the menu, opt for adult or child, and pick which item you want, then get designing for whoever you have in mind! You can even use your child’s own art work to create a truly original gift.

Picture of child wearing a tee with drawing on. Website address and title at the top.

Prices start at £14 for custom items.

Website: Living Life Our Way Clothing Store

Blog Post: Living Life Our Way Clothing Launch Post

Reviews: Mayflower Blogs and The Writing Greyhound

My & Me Jewellery

My & Me Jewellery makes a gorgeous gift. Each silver charm is lovingly crafted by hand to turn your child’s artwork into a fabulous bracelet or necklace. If you are near North London, Maxine also does BaB jewellery workshops from time to time, which would also make a brilliant gift idea for anyone who would like to try their hand at designing the jewellery themselves. BaB courses are very family friendly; childcare is offered in the room while the parent does the workshop. (Some other BaB courses and workshops are designed for adults and children to participate together too).

Picture of three charm pendant. Says My&Me Jewellery. Order now

Workshop price £105 (early bird discounts available).

BaB website: BaB Parents Jewellery Workshop

Facebook: My&Me Jewellery

Instagram: My&Me Jewellery

Bags of Love

This fab website offers a wide range of personalised photographic items; such as mugs, cushions, blankets, phone/ tablet/ laptop cases, bedding, hot water bottles and even roller blinds! I received a cool mug with my Living Life Our Way banner on it – and Bags of Love have kindly offered another personalised photo mug for one lucky reader to win! Enter via the rafflecopter giveaway below.

Living Life Our Way personalised photo mug with Bags of Love logo in right hand corner of image.

Prices from £10 for a personalised mug.

Website: bagsoflove.co.uk

Facebook: Bags of Love

Twitter: @bagsofloveUK

Competition ends 1st December 2017. UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I received some of these items free, but I have only included gift ideas that I would genuinely recommend. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Merry Christmas!

Happy holidays everyone… and for those who celebrate, Merry Christmas! Thank you for all the love and support this year, I appreciate you taking time to read my blog and connect with me!

Merry Christmas, Living Life Our Way, selfie, snapchat filter
I love snapchat filters, in reality I was sat in my pjs and no make up when I took this 😂

I hope your day is filled with laughter and fun. But if today is difficult for you for any reason, as I know it can be, please remember you are not alone. Feel free to message me if you need to, via email or any of my social media accounts.

Helpline Numbers:

Helpline numbers, Christmas, support
Helpline numbers (UK)

Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2017!

Katie xx

5 Places in Hertfordshire to Visit For That Festive Feeling

Are you trying to find festive things to do with the kids that will get you all into that Christmas spirit? Here are five places to visit in Herts for some family fun that will leave you feeling wonderfully festive…

1. Willows Farm Santa Spectacular

We go to this Santa Spectacular event every year and it’s a fantastic day out. Not cheap but plenty of festive fun to be had! More information on my previous blog post here.

2. Notcutts, St Albans

Notcutts is a nice place to pop into on a tight schedule, because you don’t need much time to enjoy the festive magic yet is still well worth a visit if you are local, mainly for the giant dancing snowman! I have heard santa also visits on occasion, sometimes even for breakfast or tea with guests! (Event must be booked in advance). 

Notcutts, St Albans, Hertfordshire, Christmas, Santas Grotto, snowman

3. Ayletts Nurseries, St Albans

I have already written about this lovely local garden centre, because it was Christmassy enough to warrant its own separate post! Great festive atmosphere.

4. Van Hage Garden Centre, Great Amwell (nr Ware)

Again, Van Hage is so fabulously festive that it has a post of its very own! With an ice rink, grotto and wonderful Christmas displays, it is enough to take the scrooge out of anyone! 

5. Christmas Drive or Walk

Earlier in December, St Albans Christmas market would probably have taken this spot. But a Christmas walk or drive to see beautifully decorated houses is something that we all really enjoy and is a well-loved activity for many families. Our personal favourite is Beech Road in St Albans, who are raising money for Mount Venon Marie Curie Cancer Wing with their amazing display, but I’m reliably informed by Diary of an Unexpectant Mother that there are also brilliantly decorated houses on Brocket Road near Lemsford and lovely lights on Handside Lane in Welwyn Garden City. Amy from The Smallest of Things also suggests Blair Close in Hemel Hempstead too. Wherever you walk or drive, you are bound to spot plenty of festive sights! 

Beech Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire, Christmas, festive house, charity fundraising, go fund me, living life our way

And two more just outside of Hertfordshire…

Centre: MK (Milton Keynes)

There is an excellent Christmas event in Middleton Hall, which is situated within this large shopping centre. There is a carousel, train, snow globe and huge igloo which houses santa and his elves. The activities charge separately and aren’t cheap, but it does mean you can pick and choose, and it is a great treat. Plus, even if you skip any of the parts that cost and just have a general wander, it is still beautifully festive.

Crews Hill Garden Centres (Enfield)

If you aren’t familiar with this area, Crews Hill has a long row of garden centres. It’s a fab place for garden or outdoor enthusiasts at any time of year, but during Christmas it becomes a mini winter wonderland. Don’t miss Springtime nurseries, which is particularly festive! It has real reindeer, plus an indoor train ride to visit the grotto, an ice rink and a snow globe. 

Springtime nurseries, Crews Hill, Christmas, garden centres, Living Life Our Way

Do you have a favourite place to visit for that wonderful festive feeling? Please share yours with me in the comments section! 

Christmas Tag!

I love reading about how other families spend their Christmas and sharing abit about how we spend ours, so thank you to Bell and Bear for tagging me in this festive Q&A! Here are my answers…

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

Love Actually. I have already watched it several times this month! I used to love Santa Claus: The Movie when I was a child. The bit where the reindeer finally does the super duper looper to save the kid always made me cry bucket loads. Every. Single. Time.

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Not that I can remember. Perhaps when I was a child, maybe? I’m not sure.

Where do you usually spend your holiday?

At home. I have never been away for Christmas. When I was a child we used to go round to visit my grandparents on Christmas day but they were local (well, same county anyway!) But that’s the furthest I have ever been for Christmas lol!

What is your favourite Christmas song?

Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

Of course not, how could we? Santa won’t have been yet! 😉

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

In a word… no! Erm, Rudolph obviously. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Blitzen…  How many are there? Oops, I think I just failed the parent test. Oh dear….

Which holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?

Making our gingerbread house together on Christmas eve.

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

Fake. It’s child size, blue and decorated by an 8 year old. What could be better than that? (Do not answer that! 😂)

What is your all time favourite holiday treat/food/sweet?

I can’t think of a specific answer to this really. But I loved the vegan meal we had last night for our Christmas do, it was delicious!

Be honest, do you like giving or receiving gifts better?

Giving. Honest answer.

What is the best Christmas present you ever received?

Anything from my daughter!

What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

New York would be high on my list, definitely.

Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?

Terrible, I fail miserably. I hate it and I suck at it. Fact.

Most memorable Christmas moment?

There are lots of memorable moments! My daughter spotting ‘Santa’s sleigh’ in the sky for the first time a few years back, that was magical!

What made you realise the truth about Santa?

I have no idea what you’re talking about… 😉

What makes the holidays special for you?

Spending time with family.

Christmas, festive, Christmas Tag, about me, blogger, Q&A

So, that’s my Christmas tag answers! And I’m tagging LeeLee Loves, Mum Times Two, Adventures in Homeschool, Emma and Family, BecsterJust Average Jen and Emma Plus Three to take part too!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!

BritMums and Penguin Random House Children’s Books Christmas Present Challenge #StoriesForLife

We were delighted to be selected to receive three lovely books from Britmums and Penguin Random House Children’s Books as part of their Christmas Present Challenge. Stories are such an important part of childhood, and really do last a lifetime! Squiggle has the most wonderful imagination and expresses her creativity in so many ways, this includes spending alot of time making her own books and writing her own stories. I can actually picture her stories in print one day! 

#storiesforlife, britmums, penguin random house children's books, Christmas present challenge, stories for life, home education

Girl Online: Going Solo  Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella) This is the third book in this bestselling series about the adventures of a 15 year old blogger. I think this novel would be great for pre-teens and teens, especially those who are interested in the world of online celebrities. In this story, Penny is busy helping others and making new friends, while tackling some boy dramas too. I will gift this to one of Squiggle’s slightly older home ed friends, who I know loves these types of stories. 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down Jeff Kinney This is book number 11 in this whopping and hugely popular series, that continues the adventures of Greg Heffley. Can he get his mom off his back by making a film or will he be in yet more trouble? I will gift this book to the awesome Chloe (child YouTuber) because I know she is a big fan of this series and is hoping to read this one soon!

The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t GallopClare Balding This is described as a heartwarming story with a girl-power message. This book sounds like it would be well-received by any animal or horse lover and I’d be tempted to keep it for ourselves (as is the case for any of them!) but I am going to give it to a fantastic local charity where donations such as this are gifted directly to someone suitable who is less fortunate this Christmas. I chose this one in particular because of its uplifting and inspiring message. 

As a younger child, I absolutely loved classics such as The Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle stories, We’re Going on a Bearhunt and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, which I have since passed down to Squiggle. At her age now, or perhaps abit older, I was into The Secret Garden, The Famous Five and anything by Roald Dahl. My favourite pre-teen/ teen stories were anything about pets, Judy Blume books and the Point Horror series. There are so many fabulous stories, I had better stop now though before this turns into a very long post! #StoriesForLife

Disclosure: I was kindly gifted three books in exchange for this post. Opinions my own.